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Argyle Street

Argyle Street

Argyle Street runs west from Trongate, but due to modern development and the M8 highway the street breaks twice in the middle, after which it continues to meet up with Sauchiehall Street by the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum to become Dumbarton Road. The eastern end of the street, pedestrianized between Queen Street and Glassford Street/Stockwell Street, makes up the southern stretch of the Golden Z, being one of the principal shopping streets in Glasgow.

Argyle Street has gone through several name changes over the centuries, and the exact history of these name changes seems unclear. It has been called St Thenew’s Gait or St Enoch’s Gate (see Trivia below), Westergait, and Dumbarton Road, all variably its original name, but a name at some point. After these names it became Anderson Walk, and finally in 1751 (or 1760) it was renamed Argyle Street, after Archibald Campbell, the 3rd Duke of Argyll. (If anyone knows the reasoning between this double use of Argyll/Argyle, do tell.)

St Enoch Square, outside the western front of the St Enoch Centre, used to be home to a medieval chapel called St Thenew’s Chapel which was demolished during the Reformation. A new chapel, St Enoch’s Church, was built on the spot in 1780 and rebuilt in 1827. It was demolished for good in 1925. Today the square contains the 1970s subway station entrance, and a Baronial building (or, if you will, a very small castle), which was built in 1896 as the above ground ticket office and entrance to the St Enoch Subway Station. Subsequently it served as a travel centre, and most recently as a cafe. The eastern side of the square, where St Enoch Centre stands today, used to be the St Enoch Hotel and St Enoch Railway Station, from 1876 to 1977.

Glasgow Trivia #16: Who was St Enoch? The name is a corruption of St Thenew (Saintteneu = Saintenoch), also known as Theneu, Teneu, Thaney, Thenaw, Denw, Thanea, or Theneva (whew!). According to legend, this 6th/7th century Scottish saint was St Mungo’s mother. She is said to have been buried underneath the Square named after her, where medieval chapel bearing her name used to stand. Her Saint’s Day is today, July 18th.

[Summer 2010 Poll: Where Are You From?]
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© 2010

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